According to a report from The Washington Post, it could be the content providers. AT&T executive Randall L. Stephens reportedly indicated in an investor conference that deals between carriers and content providers that allow users to stream their favorite television shows without paying for the data are in the industry’s future.
The premise is that major content providers, like ESPN, which is reportedly working on such a deal, would pay a higher fee to allow consumers to stream their video content to mobile devices via a wireless carrier, without reaching their monthly data limits.
Most wireless carriers offer tiered data packages, which go up in price as the data limit rises. As more content is available via mobile streaming, users are using more data and thus having to pay more. Wireless companies are struggling to keep up with the demand for unlimited data coupled with consumers looking to cut costs, could present issues for content providers looking to drive traffic to their web-based content.
Content providers paying fees to remedy the issue sounds like a simple fix, but some consumer advocacy groups have spoken out against the idea of such deals coming to fruition. The Post reports that Matt Wood, policy director of Free Press, a public interest group, is worried that the deal will only benefit the wealthiest content providers who can afford the fees, such as ESPN and the major networks. Wood said these types of deals will “stifle innovation, hinder competition and raise prices over time.”
So far, the FCC hasn’t opposed the idea, and such deals appear to be permitted by federal regulations.
Source: The Washington Post